MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program

Are you a student from Sub-Saharan Africa who has demonstrated academic talent and a personal commitment to giving back to your country, but you face significant economic barriers to higher education? If so, we invite you to apply to the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program.

If you are selected, you will receive a scholarship equivalent to the costs of attaining a Bachelor's degree, including travel, tuition, textbooks, housing, food and living expenses. You will also receive financial, academic, social and post-graduation support which will enable you to gain the experiences and skills you need to succeed.

For general information about The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program, please visit The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program website. For more about how the program works at U of T, keep reading!



Eligibility The Program is open to exceptional students who are residents and citizens of a Sub-Saharan Africa country
How it works The Program provides full scholarships to U of T for talented yet financially disadvantaged students
Support and resources U of T offers many supports for MasterCard Foundation Scholarship students
How to apply Applications for the 2017-2018 academic year are now closed.
Contact us Contacts and questions
Additional information About U of T, New College, Woodsworth College, and the MasterCard Foundation


The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program is open to students who are residents and citizens of a Sub-Saharan Africa country. You must be a first-time applicant to the University of Toronto who has not yet begun university study elsewhere. If you are a transfer student, you are not eligible for the program.

In order to be eligible, you must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Be a resident and a graduating high school student of a country within Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Demonstrate financial need correspondent to that of the lowest two quintiles of your country
  • Have very strong academic results within your school system
  • Have a record of leadership and extracurricular involvement
  • Maintain a strong desire to return to Africa to assist and work towards enhanced regional socioeconomic development
  • Be graduating from a recognized secondary school, or have completed the necessary academic requirements
  • Fulfil the necessary English requirements (dependent on country)

Please note that both academic and English requirements differ based on the country and educational system you are coming from.

How it works

The University of Toronto and The MasterCard Foundation are pleased to offer The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program at the University of Toronto. This comprehensive scholarship provides talented yet financially disadvantaged students from Sub-Saharan Africa with access to relevant university education. The Program aims to educate and enable students to contribute to the economic growth and social development of their countries of origin.

If you are selected for the program, the scholarship will provide you with full financial assistance for tuition, travel expenses (including obtaining a passport), housing, food, books and other expenses for the duration of a four-year undergraduate degree.


Academic programs

The Program supports four-year programs in the Faculty of Arts & Science and the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering for students from Sub-Saharan Africa. It is not available for graduate programs at U of T. For a list of the programs of study available to choose from, please visit the Faculty of Arts & Science’s Prospective Students website and the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering’s Discover Engineering website.



The program includes two unpaid internships. The first will take place in the Toronto area for three months during your second summer to provide local practical work experience and skills. The second internship will take place in Africa during your third summer.

Support and resources

Mentoring, orientation and transition programs

Throughout your undergraduate study, you will be provided with a variety of mentoring and transition assistance programs. When you arrive at U of T, you will take part in an extended orientation program. This will help you get familiar with the University’s academic requirements and practices, and will also introduce you to various social and co-curricular opportunities.


Group activities

You will also have opportunities to participate in group activities that will allow you and fellow Scholars to learn together and connect academically and socially with other communities on campus. These cohort-based activities will contribute to a richer educational and cultural experience at U of T.


Advisors and administrators

Our advisors and administrators will regularly interact with you and help you navigate through university life. You will also have student mentors and academic dons to provide peer support. These resources will help with your transition to U of T and support your academic and personal success.


Colleges – New College and Woodsworth College

Throughout your time at U of T, you will live at either New College or Woodsworth College (two of the seven colleges at U of T St. George). Your college will provide personalized resources and services throughout your undergraduate study to support your progress through the Program. These services include academic and financial advising from the college’s Registrar’s Office, residence accommodation and residence life support, and student mentor support.



Student life programs and support networks

In addition to the special supports provided to the MasterCard Foundation Scholars, there are many other student support programs and services offered at U of T. These include academic and health counselling, ways to get involved in campus life, and many opportunities to build competencies in academic success, leadership, career development, health and personal well-being.

There are also various social and cultural support networks for students. For example, the African Students Association and the African Studies Program at New College are among the many options that provide support for students from Sub-Saharan Africa.


Visiting home

The program has tentatively built in two visits to your home country — one in the summer of your first year and the other in the summer of your third year. These trips will allow you to maintain a connection with your friends and family. The costs for these visits will be fully covered by the program.


Financial aid for passports

There will be funding available to help you with the cost of a passport. If you do not own a passport, the program will aid in passport applications and related costs.

How to apply

This scholarship opportunity is available for first-entry undergraduate programs in either the Faculty of Arts & Science or the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering at the St. George campus.

Applications for the 2017-2018 academic year are now closed. All applicants will be notified of the results by e-mail in March 2017.


A completed application includes the following components:

  • completed online application – all applicable sections must be filled out, including contact information, financial information, personal details and responses to essay questions.
  • Financial documents – upload a scanned copy of financial documentation.
  • Transcript – upload a scanned copy of your secondary school transcript and any other academic information.
  • Two references – provide the names and contact details of two individuals who will serve as your referees. We will contact your referees directly and ask them to submit their letter of reference through a secure website.


How many students does the Program accept?

It is expected that the program will accept 15 students in the 2017-2018 academic year.

Can I apply to graduate programs at U of T with this scholarship?

No, this program only funds undergraduate programs at U of T in the Faculty of Arts & Science and the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering.

Contact us

If you have any questions, please contact us:


Phone: +1 416-946-5269

Additional information

About the University of Toronto

Established in 1827, the University of Toronto has one of the strongest research and teaching faculties in North America and consistently ranks among the top universities in the world. U of T attracts top faculty and students, providing an intellectual environment that is unmatched in depth and breadth by any other Canadian campus.

To learn more about U of T, visit the Future U of T website.


About New College

Founded in 1962, New College offers students an intimate experience through personalized attention and a wealth of innovative, interdisciplinary academic programs including African Studies. New College is a community which supports equity, diversity and social justice.

For more information, please visit the New College website.


About Woodsworth College

Woodsworth College is a thriving community, providing an excellent educational experience for all of its students. The College supports a culture of learning and leadership that encourages academic and co-curricular success through academic and financial advising and support, as well as active participation in University and community life. Students also have access to a dedicated learning strategist and writing centre with experienced staff who provide writing and other academic support.  

For more information, please visit the Woodsworth College website.


About the MasterCard Foundation

The MasterCard Foundation is a private foundation based in Toronto, Canada with a vision to create the opportunity for all to learn and prosper. In collaboration with a global network of educational institutions and non-governmental organizations, the Foundation promotes financial inclusion and prosperity for people living in poverty. The Foundation believes the future of Africa will be shaped by its young people, including those with academic talent and a commitment to giving back to their countries, but who are economically disadvantaged and face barriers in accessing quality, relevant education.
Please visit The MasterCard Foundation website for more information.